Matthew Callender, BA (Hons), MA (By Research)* - The University of Northampton
This paper emanates from ongoing research exploring the lives of young Polish migrants living in Northamptonshire. At the point of European Union (EU) expansion in 2004, the United Kingdom (UK) opened its labour market to nationals of new member states including Poland. Since 2004, a high number of Polish nationals have migrated to the UK in search of work reaching a pinnacle in 2006 with an estimated 234,000 applications on the Worker Registration Scheme (Home Office, 2008). Fihel and Kaczmarczyk (2009) note that the post-accession flow of Polish migrants to the UK is more differentiated that previous flows but in the main consists of young people aged 20-29. However, while some data exist on socio-demographic profiles of Polish migrants, their motivations, experiences and intentions remain unclear.
In this context, this project set out to uncover and explore diversity within the experiences of young Polish migrants aged 18-24 living in Northamptonshire. Using qualitative methods, the participants in the study were able to position their experiences within their own biography. The results of the study indicate that the important 'events' of migration are unique and informed through migrants experiences in the past and present, but also future pathways. For many of the participants, these identified 'events' of migration are informed through 'youth' to 'adulthood' transitions. This paper will present data that illustrate young Polish migrants experiencing their transition to 'adulthood' through migration.